Friday, September 18, 2009

Flashback Friday: Fourth Pregnancy

Yesterday, a friend posted a pregnancy picture on her blog and mentioned something about having "swallowed a watermelon." And though I love her dearly, I just simply MUST beg to differ.

Because...


seriously.

If THAT'S a watermelon, then what,

pray tell,

is.

this?????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



or this??????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I promise you! Her belly (at 17 days
left) looks like mine did at like 13 weeks in!! What is the dealio?!? By the way, it was no accident that my puffy cheeks and pregnant nose are absent from these shots. As author of this blog, that is conveniently my prerogative. (He he) My friend cut her head out of her photos, too, but I have no doubt it is as skinny and perfect as ever. She was probably just trying to make me feel a little less shame somehow.

This "Flashback Friday" I'm remembering just how HUGE of a watermelon it seemed I had swallowed...

back when I had..........


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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More About Cloth

One thing I learned within just a week or two of cloth diapering, is that I needed to figure out a better way to wipe. I still had a HUGE container of disposable wipes I was using on Gabe, but it was SUCH a hassle to wipe, then take the wipes to the trash can, then stop by the toilet (to dump the diaper contents), and then go back to the diaper pail. Annoying, really. So I decided to try using washcloths. I had these great cloths from Ikea (since Noah was a baby), so I tried those, but I had to go to the sink first to get them good and wet, and then I felt like I was just rinsing and not really cleaning him. And besides that, they were terry cloth and quite scratchy after so many washes. So then I bought some diaper flannel, prewashed it, cut out some squares, and then surged the edges. The wipes I made, however, were only so-so. They too got real scratchy after several washes, but were serving the purpose.

And then I just so happened to have placed an order with Cotton Babies in which one of the items I had ordered was out-of-stock in a particular color, so they sent me a different color but threw in a package of cloth wipes as an apology gift. (I highly recommend them. Their customer service is great, and they ship items practically immediately.) What?! I didn't even know they HAD cloth wipes!! (See how stuck on myself I can be sometimes? Thinking I had come up with a brand-new concept! Ha!) Well, I fell in love with the things. I ended up ordering another package (after all, I have TWO babies in diapers).

Anyway, the wipes are truly great. It's so easy to just throw them right in the diaper pail along with the diaper. AND they work MUCH better than disposables, in my opinion. They are a soft, brushed-type flannel, so they "pick up" messes better. I was reading here that you can use flannel receiving blankets to make your own, and I actually think that might work! That flannel is always really soft, even after it's been washed time and time again. But goodness, if you don't have time (or energy) for such projects, do yourself a favor and spend the $12/dozen and be done with it. (Remember, you'll be re-using them!) I recommend two to three dozen.


I also researched some recipes for homemade diaper wipe solutions. I picked a simple one and have stuck with it all this time. And I adore my wipe solution. I recently posted the recipe here.

The other thing that works for me? Flushable liners. Yes, ma'am. While they are not 100% effective 100% of the time at trapping 100% of the poo, they most definitely make a difference! Trust me. They are especially handy if you are using prefolds with a cover because prefolds tend to grab and hold stuff, so without a liner you'll be doing some scraping (or dunking, for those of you who dunk).

Prefold diaper folded in thirds and placed in cover; liner placed flat on top.

I recently saw on
Little Lions that there are cloth liners as well, which you may think sort of defeats the purpose. But really, you're just looking for a layer of something that protects your diapers from staining and that is easy to "de-poo." Some fabrics do better at that than others. For instance, things usually slide right off the suede cloth lining of my One-Size Bumgenius diapers. But then again, the flushable liners also help to keep them as white as possible. I may try a few of those cloth liners just to see. Maybe it'll save me a little money, but at $8.00 for 100 liners, the flushable ones aren't THAT expensive, especially if you don't use them at every single diaper change. (And I'm on the Cotton Babies email list, so I get notified when they're offering free shipping. I only buy liners when I'm getting free shipping somehow.) I usually have a pretty good idea of when to put one in so as to make my life a tad bit easier. By the way, these will do you no good unless your baby has begun solids. Exclusively breastfed babies have poo that is water-soluble and, therefore, nothing at all is required except regular laundering. (Yay!) But later, oh later, you. will. thank. me.

One-size Bumgenius 3.0 diaper with liner on top

Simply lay the liner flat on top of the opened diaper, allowing the edges to overlap the edges of the diaper. (Do not attempt to contour the liner to the shape of the diaper. This will encourage "bunching" once on.) Don't worry. The liner is not absorbent, so it won't hurt anything to have liner coming out of the diaper's elastic.

Okay. Now go flush with a smile on your face!!

And you'll find other things that "work" at We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Snips, Snails, & Pretty Pigtails: Saylor, part 2

One thing about Saylor you may have noticed is that she has some LOOOOOOOOONG hair. Yes, she does.


Right now her hair reaches all the way to her waist. It's never actually been cut. I mean, I've trimmed it many times, but never more than an inch or two at a time. No reason really. Just haven't. Don't think for a second I haven't been tempted to do it. As a matter of fact, I'm currently IN a state of temptation, and I may just have to succumb this time. Because, honestly, long hair like that is a lot of work. And when it's thin and fine, like ALL my children's hair, well then, it's even worse. Tangles hurt, y'all!! She's also been growing out her bangs for almost a year now. For those of you who have ever done that, you know how F.U.N. that is! Most of the time we can't even SEE
Saylor under all that hair in her face.




(I guess she fits right in with brother Noah and brother Gabriel. Right?)

Oh, glory, how glad I'll be when it just naturally does THIS all the time!!


The other day we were looking at pictures of Saylor as a baby and marveling at how much she has changed (and, at the same time, how much she has stayed the same). Always delicate, always dainty, always a lover of beauty. I have yet to meet a girl with quite so MUCH girliness as Saylor. She loves to flit and twirl and put her babies to bed and eat cake and wear dresses and go shopping and go to parties and dance and sing and go to church. She loves classical music and worship songs. She loves babies and getting them to smile at her. There's really not a whole lot she doesn't like, except blueberries and salad...oh, and being pestered. Ha!


Our baby girl has grown so much it is unbelievable to me. In less than a month, she will be FIVE years old and that. just. astounds me. When did she stop being
THIS cutie pie?!


Oh, she's still cute alright. Cute and delicate and girly. But Saylor is also the toughest little girl ever. Tough when she gets hurt, that is. Her tolerance for pain is truly astounding. Believe me when I tell you, she gets that from her father! I'll never forget the time when she was a toddler and she stepped on a thumbtack. It went all the way into her foot so that it was flush with the bottom of her foot! That poor child WALKED! down the hallway to me and was barely whimpering--but definitely limping or I wouldn't have known what was wrong with her. And when I pulled that tack out...Boy! it gushed blood. Oh, she cried then. But literally only for like 20-30 seconds. Got a band-aid on it, and she was just fine, even though that spot was bruised and visibly sore for quite a while. And you should see her with shots! Even as a baby, she would rarely cry. Crazy!

Our tough little girl even already knows what she wants to be when she grows up. Any guesses?

Easy..............a mommy.

She's so cute when she helps me in the kitchen because she'll be stirring something and I'll compliment her work and she'll gasp and say, "I'm almost a mommy!" One thing she loves to do is help with Baby Atticus. It's VERY good "mommy" practice, wouldn't you say?




Yep. You're going to make a good one, Saylor.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nutshell

12:35 a.m. - Woke up to the sound of Gabriel crying, who proceeded to throw up all over the living room floor. (By the way, anyone ever had to clean vomit out of the grooves between planks of hard wood? Yeck!)

12:50 a.m. - Went BACK to the nursery for Atticus who was also crying and who was up wailing (this child does NOT teethe gracefully) on and off for the next two hours or so.

6:00 a.m. - Alarm on my phone went off. (Pretty sure I had JUST drifted off to sleep.)......Obviously, I hit snooze......several. times.

6:30 a.m. - Finally accepting the harsh reality of what HAD to be done, I got up. I then stood in my closet and stared blankly at my clothes for at least 20 minutes.

7:10 a.m. - Somehow dressed, I quickly fixed a breakfast for Atticus and popped it into my diaper bag.

7:15 a.m. - Tried to wake Noah up. (He's SUCH a teenager.)

"Night...

7:16 a.m. - Opened Saylor's door......and up she popped. She dressed herself, while I fixed her hair.

...and Day"

7:20 a.m. - Tried Noah again. This time he begrudgingly got up...and dressed himself.

7:23 a.m. - Gabriel (who had slept on our bedroom floor) had been awakened by all the commotion and was asking for food. (Food?! Do I really want to go there?) I fixed him a baggie full of saltines, which he thankfully accepted.

7:25 a.m. - Clambering into the nursery, we woke Atticus up as Gabriel and I entered his room for a diaper change. (How I HATE to wake a sleeping baby unnecessarily!) Got Gabriel changed and dressed.

7:30 a.m. - Atticus got a lightning fast diaper change and a pair of Babylegs. (I pretty much can't live without 'em.)

7:35 a.m. - Held a tooth-brushing "pit stop" by the kitchen door.

7:40 a.m. - Gathered the diaper bag, the already-prepared "new patient" paperwork, the Silkies, and the baby's breakfast, while Paul (bless him) got the bigger three kiddos into their car seats before heading off to work.

7:42 a.m. - Set the alarm, buckled Atticus in, and off we went. (Soooooo thankful I don't face morning school/work traffic with my kids on a daily basis!!)

8:07 a.m. - Arrived for our 8:10 appointment at the dentist. Back in December, Gabriel had fallen and chipped a front tooth on our tile floor, so he needed to have that polished a bit. Saylor was just having a check-up and cleaning. (Noah was scheduled for Wednesday.) And before you judge me too harshly for showing up with a child who was potentially contagious, tell me WHAT was I supposed to do? You have to give at least 24 hours notice for a cancellation (or risk paying for the missed visit) AND Paul had a pretrial hearing so he had to leave early this morning. I had no other choice and no time to figure out any other options. (Are you paying attention to the times here?!) I told the receptionists what was going on, and they said it was perfectly fine. Whew! Good thing.

DURING the appointment I...

...held a writhing, screaming Gabriel against me in the dental chair while they tortured my baby fixed his tooth.
...nursed Atticus.
...fed Atticus his breakfast on the floor (not "off" the floor) of an examination room.
...spoke with the dentist (a friend from our old church) about the kids' teeth. (One would hope, right?)
...read Gabriel a book...twice.

Then when we were just about to go, there was a cancellation (boy, somebody's out some money!) so they went ahead and got Noah's check-up out of the way, too, which was awesome! (Of course, though, Atticus was way past "ready" to go take his nap. So, that's always fun.)

9:45 a.m. - Treats in hand and cavity-FREE, we headed home. (Can I just SAY? Children nowadays are so blessed to be able to go to the dentist and have options like orange juice or chocolate-flavored toothpaste/polish and awesome tooth-friendly treat bags, complete with Disney character toothbrushes. They even got to pick a new BOOK out of a basket as their reward. Man! I remember the days when the cheap-o toothbrush WAS the reward.)

10:00 a.m. - Once home, fixed juices one-handed and popped some bagels in the toaster and then went to re-diaper and nurse Atticus. He went down without a hitch. (Being up all night will do that to ya. And, boy, did I want to go down with him!)

10:10 a.m. - Back in the kitchen, I spread cream cheese on the bagels and peeled some bananas, which the kids ate happily and eagerly.

10:30 a.m. - School time. Noah journaled (which is apparently not a word). Gabriel played. Saylor colored. Then there were a few rounds of a pattern game and a couple more activities. And during this time, I "broke up" and/or mediated two (or was it seven?) fights disputes, helped someone with after-potty hand-washing a couple of times (our upstairs sink is a little too high...or maybe it's that our stool is not high enough...hmm), picked up toys, read a Bible story, and did a load of laundry.

And that was my morning...in a............well, you know.

And in a totally unrelated matter... (because I am loopy enough to bring it up)...

Oh.......my. word.
This is hilarious to me.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Snips, Snails & Pretty Pigtails: Saylor, part 1

Saylor started taking ballet last year, and I worried (and worried) that it was too hard for her. I mean, she couldn't even skip! I thought she'd never learn, in fact. But it turns out that a full year of dance when you're four does a lot of good toward helping one LEARN to SKIP.


And you could NOT have found a girl in that class who had as much FUN as she did while at dance class. She was the one we'd hear giggling uncontrollably when they'd finish one thing and get in position for something else. The other girls just did as they were told, but Saylor would literally bound from one place to another, laughing giddily. She LOVED every minute of it. So funny. And now that she's started her second year, I can already see that she has become more coordinated with age. I'm so excited for her!

Her June recital was a full-story ballet based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale "The Emperor and The Nightingale" and involved the entire company of dancers. Saylor's age group (the youngest) were the little birds of the forest and their teacher played the nightingale. It was a really neat production. Those little birds were too cute for words!


And they did an excellent job, too, considering how much they had to "remember" and
that while standing on a stage under all those stage lights. That's hard!

We got several pictures right after the performance (once her hair was falling down, of course) with her three (count 'em...three!) bouquets of flowers.



And then we took a few more at home...for Mimi's sake.




(And, yes, there is a creepy yellowish bruise on her forehead. She clocked herself at the park about a week before the recital. PURRRRfect timing, right?)

She's already started asking about this year's recital. *grin* It's gonna be a long year...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Flashback Friday: Happy Birthday, Honey

So Wednesday was my honey's birthday. I didn't do much (okay, sort of did nothing) because it was...Wednesday! We have speech therapy and ballet rehearsal, and we were (still are) OUT of groceries, making it pretty difficult to make a cake or cookies or even a pie, as requested. BUT this weekend, we're going to have a shindig for sure. There will be pie, Dear. There WILL be pie.

Anyway, I DO so love you, Paulie. Because you're awesome. And you put up with ME. And you make a lot of sense (most of the time) while the rest of the world is content to make NO sense whatsoever!! YOU do have your head on straight. You are a fun, wise, gentle father, and the kids simply ADORE you. YOU are the man God knew I needed. My perfect companion for life. My best friend.

This pic was taken on the occasion of Saylor's birth in 2004, but Mere (Jeff's wife) and I...well, we exploited it for other purposes. My man is a lawyer! And a darn good one, too.


Happy Birthday, Sweetheart! I love you, I love you, I love you!!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Works For Me (Round 2)


Okay, you've known that I use cloth diapers.

You may have even known that I use cloth wipes.

But what you may NOT have known is that I make my own wipes solution.

I mean, you've got to have SOMETHING to put ON those cloth wipes, after all. Yes, you can clean with plain water. But if you know AN-ee-thing about diapering babies, you know that SOMEtimes more is required. I like this solution so much, that I use it almost exclusively. It's also very easy to make. An 8 oz. bottle lasts me approximately 3-4 weeks, depending on how much wiping is going on around here. It definitely saves me money, as it's mostly water. And, combined with the use of reusable cloth wipes, well, I'm practically getting PAID to use it! (Okay, that may be going a bit too far...) And the other part is, there are no synthetic ingredients being absorbed by my baby's skin that will later enter his system.

On a side note, I read this article back when I first had Gabriel, and I have found that, with the exception of a yeast overgrowth, it is true. I have learned that if I am merely changing a wet diaper, it is best to just let the baby air out for a few seconds and then put on a nice, dry diaper without wiping at all. The only exceptions to that are, quite obviously, when baby is dirty OR if baby has been sitting in an increasingly soaked diaper for far too long, like first thing in the morning after sleeping in the same diaper all night. Anyway, in case you don't feel like clicking the link above, it's all about pH levels of skin and how wiping a baby multiple times each day disturbs the healthy pH balance naturally built in to baby's skin for its protection. Wiping too much can actually CAUSE rashes to occur. (And just so you know, if your baby ever gets a rash that is a yeast infection, DO NOT use commercial baby wipes. Yeast FEEDS OFF the ingredients in them! Yeah, I'm thinking I may need to do another blog post on yeast...)

Ahem.

And now. Without further ado...

Baby Wipe Solution

In a small bowl, mix together:

1 t. extra-virgin olive oil
1 t. aloe vera gel


Stir well until aloe vera has "declumped."

Then add:


Again, mix well and set aside.


Fill squirt bottle with 8 oz. plain water.


Then funnel in the soap mixture.


Now you're all ready for wiping!



Just squirt this sweet smelling stuff on your cloth wipe (folded in half), squeeze so that the wipe absorbs the liquid throughout, and then wipe away your troubles!!

(This is the best step-by-step method I have found. If you put the soap mixture in first and then add the water, it will bubble up like crazy, and you won't be able to fit all 8 oz. of water in the bottle. And if you don't stir the aloe vera into the olive oil, it never will incorporate itself.)

Why olive oil? Heals skin and relieves itching, stinging, and burning.

Why aloe vera? Heals burns, soothes irritated skin, prevents mold (in the solution), and kills bacteria, funguses, and viruses.

There are many different recipes out there, but this one does not include baby wash or baby shampoo as an ingredient. And that is good, because it can be difficult to find baby wash/shampoo that does not include harsh chemicals, parabens, preservatives, etc. I find it's easier to use the castile soap as my main cleansing agent. Also, these are ingredients that are readily available in my home.

This is the first recipe I ever tried, and I loved it so much I never tried another. It smells divine, too. Dr. Bronner's castile soap comes in many different scents (non-synthetic scents; the smell comes from the different essential oils, extracts, and natural fragrances used). My absolute favorite is "Almond." But they also make an "Unscented Baby Mild" one. I've not had any trouble with the scent used with my babies; in fact, I find it sort of lifts my spirits when I smell it. And that's always a plus when you're about to open a diaper!!!

Can I get an Amen?


Happy Mommy, Happy Baby

Today's theme for Works For Me Wednesday is Meal Planning. Lest you be misled, MY post does not fall into that category, but they were nice enough to let me join up anyhows. Be sure and stop by!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

(maybe this will help me feel a little less complicated today...Ha!)

For today...

Outside my window...a baby pool has been transformed into a makeshift terrapin habitat for Noah's new friend.

I am thinking...about cake.

I am thankful for...dear, sweet friends who are always so willing to help.

From the learning rooms...we are playing "Tens Go Fish" (must make pairs of number cards that equal 10) and making a treasure box for a birthday present.

From the kitchen...I am making butter and boiling a chicken to put away in the freezer.

I am wearing...sweats and a tee shirt. (Y'all should be used to that by now.)

I am creating...a mess outside my bedroom door, because I got a wild hair to get rid of a bunch of books and put the rest on shelves in our closet so that we can sell these hideous, commercial-looking bookshelves.

I am going...to
Family Camp this weekend!!

I am reading...through an issue of
Real Simple (my FAVORITE magazine)...and Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore...and curriculum (told you).

I am hoping...our house will be clean by Friday, but there's really nothing to base that hope on.

I am hearing...silence at nap time. Ah...

Around the house...you'd be surprised to find a turtle walking around IN. my. house. with no kid nearby. Hmm...

One of my favorite things...Cream Soda. SUCH a guilty pleasure. And shopping at Wal-Mart with all four kiddos sometimes drives me to it.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Post about baby wipe solution. Cook and put away some more baby food. Pack. Clean?

Here is a picture thought I am sharing:

Buttery, Homemade Chicken Pot Pie:
The Dish of Love

Definitely NOT the same dish you used to eat in the school cafeteria or frozen TV dinner, which ever was worse! No cans of Veg-All here!!! Praise God!

Please excuse the ever-so-lovely paper towel underneath my heart-shaped Emile Henry casserole...I was too busy stuffing my face to worry with removing it for a photo. Thanks for the yummy meal, Julie!

Visit The Simple Woman's Daybook for more of these...
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